South China Sea
|South China Sea|
|Alternative Chinese name|
|Long characters||中國 南海|
|Pinyin||Zhōngguó Nán Hǎi|
|Pinyin||Nán Zhōngguó Hǎi|
|Quốc Ngữ||Biển Đông|
|Chữ Nôm||匾 東|
|IPA||tʰáʔlēː tɕīːnáʔ tɑ̂i|
|RTGS||Thale Chin Tai|
|Kanji||南 シ ナ 海|
|Kanji||南 支那 海 obs. 1|
|Kana||み な み シ ナ か い|
|Hepburn||Minami Shina Kai|
|Tagalog||Dagat Kanlurang Pilipinas|
|Alternative Filipino name|
|Bahasa Malaysia||According to China Selatan|
|Bahasa Indonesia||According to Tiongkok Selatan|
|Alternative Malay name|
|Bahasa Indonesia||According to Natuna Utara|
Designations in languages of the region: Chinese 南海 , Pinyin Nán Hǎi ("South Sea"), 中國 南海 / 中国 南海 , Zhōngguó Nán Hǎi or 南中國海 / 南中国海 , Nán Zhōngguó Hǎi , Vietnamese Biển Đông ("East Sea"), Thai ทะเลจีนใต้ , Thale Chin Tai ("South China Sea"), Japanese 南 シ ナ 海 Minami Shina Kai , ("South China Sea"), tagalog Dagat Luzon ("Luzon Sea") or Dagat Kanlurang Pilipinas ("West Philippine Sea"), as well as Malay according to China Selatan , Laut Tiongkok Selatan ("South China Sea") or Laut Natuna Utara ("North Natuna Sea").
The South China Sea covers an area of 3,685,000 km². At an average depth of 1,060 meters, this results in a water volume of 3,907,000 km³. The greatest depth is in the China Sea Basin and is 5016 meters.
Adjacent seas and marine areas are:
- in the northeast the East China Sea (north of Taiwan)
- in the east the Philippine Sea (connection via the 320 km wide Luzon Strait )
- in the southeast the Sulu Sea (separated by the Philippine island of Palawan )
- in the south the Java Sea (connection via the Karimata Strait )
- in the southwest the Strait of Malacca (connection to the Indian Ocean )
- In the west of the Gulf of Thailand (the line from Cape Bai Bung in Vietnam to Kota Bahru in Malaysia forms the border)
Islands in the South China Sea are:
- Côn Đảo : in the southwest off the coast, belongs to Vietnam
- Dongsha Islands / Pratas Islands: largely submerged reef in the north, under the control of the Republic of China
- Hainan : largest island in the north, belongs to the People's Republic of China
- Natuna Islands and Anambas Islands : in the southwest, belong to Indonesia
- Paracel Islands : Atolls between Vietnam and Hainan, under the control of the People's Republic of China, claimed by Vietnam
- Scarborough Reef : some rocks to the east, not far from Luzon , under the control of the People's Republic of China, claimed by the Philippines
- Spratly Islands : a large number of small islets in the southeast, controlled and claimed by various states
- Zhongsha Islands / Macclesfield Bank: largely submerged reef east of the Paracel Islands, belongs to the People's Republic of China
Some shallows can also be mentioned, which are also claimed:
- James Shoal: off Borneo in the south
- Luconia Shallows (also Luconia Reefs ): are sometimes also counted among the Spratly Islands, north of the James Shallows
- Truro Shoal: north of the Scarborough Reef
There are numerous other islands just off the coasts of the respective countries, for example Pulau Tioman .
The affiliation of many of the islands in the South China Sea is controversial between the neighboring countries. There are repeated incidents, especially in the Spratly Islands (between the People's Republic of China and Vietnam) and Paracel Islands , but also at the Scarborough Reef (between the Philippines and the People's Republic of China). The reason for this is its strategic importance as a supply route for East Asia . In addition to assumed energy resources and fish stocks, some of the most important international and regional shipping routes are concentrated here .
In 2009, the People's Republic of China submitted a map to the United Nations with the so-called “nine-dash line” and wanted to establish historical claims on large parts of the South China Sea. China's claims are in contrast to the UN-negotiated Convention on the Law of the Sea , which China joined in 1996. This regulates the demarcation of the exclusive economic zone and takes into account inhabited and habitable islands, but not uninhabitable reefs and rocks.
In April 2012, there was a skirmish between Filipino and Chinese ships at Scarborough Reef, which escalated into a crisis between the two states involved. In June 2012, Vietnam passed a new shipping law, the validity of which also includes the disputed area around the Spratly and Paracel Islands. A clarification of the different claims of the neighboring states would be possible through an arbitration procedure of the International Court of Justice . However, this is rejected by China.
The Philippine President Benigno Aquino III. campaigned for support in the territorial dispute with China in February 2014: In an interview with the New York Times , he drew parallels with the extradition of the Sudetenland to Germany in 1938 ( Sudeten crisis ).
In 2014, from May to July, China carried out test drillings with the Haiyang Shiyou 981 deep-sea drilling rig in the disputed waters far south of Hainan Island. As a result, Chinese and Vietnamese ships clashed and anti-Chinese riots broke out in Vietnam.
After China had turned some reefs into artificial islands, the US demonstratively sent its destroyer Lassen in front of the Spratly Islands at the end of October 2015, showing that it did not recognize a Chinese claim to these islands.
In July 2020, the US Navy sent warships on so-called Freedom of Navigation voyages into the waters claimed by China. Washington thus demonstrated that it does not accept the so-called nine-dash line in the South China Sea, which is officially claimed by China as a land border. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called China's territorial claims illegal. The US warships operating in the sea area in July 2020 include the two aircraft carriers USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan with their aircraft carrier combat groups , each with two guided missile cruisers , two to three guided missile destroyers , two hunting submarines and a logistical supply ship .
In addition to China, Taiwan , Japan and South Korea as well as the USA have geostrategic interests in the South China Sea as their allies. About 80 percent of the oil deliveries in northeast Asia pass through the South China Sea. China suspects around 213 billion barrels of oil and 900 trillion cubic meters of natural gas under the sea floor. An economic powerhouse has emerged around the sea; the sum of the gross domestic products (GDP) of these countries exceeds the GDP of India. Many of the states are members of ASEAN . Even India has interests in Southeast Asia and the South China Sea. India's interests partly diverge from those of China and the USA. Some states in the region have or are arming. China has expanded its naval base in Sanya in the north of the South China Sea and created artificial islands.
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